delve a little deeper....
Anyone who has spent any time reading my blog will know how I feel about certain issues regarding prostitution, my place within it and the interference by others to try and 'stop' it. I say 'stop' because this is frankly laughable because that's another blog called When hell freezes over. I've blogged about my confusion over feminism and I think it's pretty clear that I'm happy in my job.
I'm not an academic, I'm no expert in unpicking the statistics that are bandied about around sex work, I'm rubbish at remembering facts or who said what and I don't always articulate what I think as well as many other bloggers. However, I'm an avid reader of other's work and whilst I know I am very lucky with my lot in comparison to many in the sex trade I do feel I have a valid view and I do have a capacity to get very cross and very concerned over how some portray sex work and the interference of people who know fuck all.
I try not to get too ranty on this blog, because essentially this is a marketing tool but I'm going to do it again! Please note I only provide ranty rants during a booking unless they are specifically requested!
Anyway, I got cross again this morning over This article by Joan Smith in the Independent. Basically Smith had a little jaunt to Sweden and got to spend some time with some nice policemen, she even noted of one officer "He's young, black, and his appearance – shaved head, baggy jeans – suggests a music industry executive rather than a cop."
As you can tell top, weighty, investigative journalism going on here... I digress.
The upshot of Smith's Swedish mini break was that she got to sit in a car with some policemen who all told her that the Swedish model 'works' and along with the usual puff that women who get into prostitution have usually suffered from 'childhood sexual abuse, compounded by problems with drugs and alcohol'.
At no point did Smith appear to speak to any actual sex workers. So whilst the police have given her figures to back up her argument, there is nothing about how sex workers feel about the change in law or the negative effects on them.
Here is a great piece about what is wrong with the Swedish law so I don't have to explain it (and nor could I better than this). The one point I do want to make is that street prostitution makes up a tiny percentage of sex workers. Those who focus on this to make their tedious newspaper articles look gritty are not reporting accurately the sex trade in this country. That's shoddy journalism.
Smith asks if this is something that would work in the UK, she states;
...'The UK has taken tentative steps towards criminalising clients; it's already a criminal offence to buy sex from anyone under the age of 18 or an adult who's being exploited by pimps or traffickers. But there have been few convictions, suggesting that British police officers don't share the robust attitudes of their Swedish counterparts. Haggstrom agrees with Wahlberg that legislation on its own isn't enough: "You have to have enforcement resources. You have to have police officers who go out and make arrests."'.
And there you go, you've answered your own question Ms Smith. It is already illegal to buy sex from those under 18 or who is pimped/trafficked. There are laws in place to protect all of us from violence, assault and robbery. What is lacking is resources!
Woo! Revelation! Those in authority should be putting resources into the areas where it is needed, not creating ridiculous new laws and thus wasting police time on arresting decent men who happen to pay for sex. It's that simple.
Noone, least of all sex workers wants anyone to be abused. I am lucky I am in the position I am in and would never sweep away the fact that some women are forced to do this in horrible conditions. What should be happening is action to stop those who abuse and save those who need saving! The free, independent, happy to be hookering women just want to be left alone. What we really want is to be able to work safely and to not have a stigma attached to us. We want the police to be there for us when we need it and what we don't want is our clients arresting.
We don't want what is already a tricky enough job made more difficult by being pushed underground along with losing the lovely, kind, law abiding men we like to see.
We don't want to be told we are being abused and that paying for sex is tantamount to rape and we don't want people such as Smith telling us what we do isn't work.
For the record when I tweeted her asking 'Why is the sex work I do that pays my bills & that I pay tax on not work? And who are you to decide?' she has declined to answer. Nor has she responded to any other sex workers asking her questions. Maybe she is scared that we might actually have a point?